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Legal lightning

Tasting Notes: Palmetto Moonshine

Moonshine is dangerous: for backwoods brewers, the lawmen chasing them (whom we imagine as bumbling Sheriff Roscoes) and for your sobriety. Palmetto Moonshine, South Carolina’s first legal moonshine distillery, claims to deliver a hooch that tastes less like jet fuel and more like fine liquor. We were skeptical. Don’t get us wrong — the stuff…

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Lighten up

Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof

For many of us, 101 proof alcohols conjure up fuzzy memories of enflamed shot glasses and, well, not much else. For the now more responsible — and presumably with better taste — the Lawrenceburg, Kentucky distillery famed for its high-proof whiskeys, has released Wild Turkey Rye 81 Proof. Aged for 4–5 years in “alligator” char…

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Sweet sin-sation

Twice the Vice Spirited Chocolates

Add the food of the gods, cacao, to the water of life, booze, and you’ve got Twice the Vice spirited chocolates. A box holds nine chocolate-enrobed, liquor-filled morsels that are available in a variety of spirit themes including a fine tequila and a kentucky bourbon series. While we’re sure all of their delightful boxes are…

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Guatemala’s finest export

Tasting Notes: Zacapa XO Rum

While most drinkers look to the islands for their rum fix, good things are coming out of Guatemala, like Ron Zacapa XO ($50), a delicious blend of rums aged six to 25 years old. Most rums are distilled from molasses, but Zacapa is produced from first pressed sugar cane juice at its Guatemalan distillery. Once…

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West Meets East

Tasting Notes: Bombay Sapphire East

After 25 years as one of the world’s leading gin brands, Bombay Sapphire has finally introduced a new extension to the line, dubbed Bombay Sapphire East ($32) (42% ABV). Adding “East” to the name may seem a bit redundant given the Bombay branding, but the spirit has always been officially classified as a London Dry…

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Help bring this Irish spirit upstart, stateside

Kickstarter: 1661 Poitín Small Batch Traditional Irish Spirit

Poitín is essentially the traditional Irish equivalent to moonshine and holds a reputation for being one of the strongest spirits in the world, thanks to its 60%-95% ABV. Its Gaelic name references the small copper pots used in its distillation and the booze is commonly found throughout homes on the Emerald Isle. Poitín is in…

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Mixology 101

PDT Cocktail Book Leather-Bound Edition

New York’s famed Please Don’t Tell nails the hidden speakeasy vibe like few other establishments in the city. For example, gaining access to the snug cocktail lounge requires patrons to find the hidden entrance located behind the vintage phone booth in the attached hot dog joint Crif Dogs. Jim Meehan’s inventiveness behind the bar, however,…

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It's not your grandfather's gin

Tasting Notes: No. 209 Gin

One of the most exciting product categories of recent years is New American gin. Eschewing the juniper-driven backbones of London Dry style gins like Seagrams and Beefeater, New American gins encompass a broader range of botanicals, which leads to unique combinations of flavors and aromas. One such gin is No. 209 ($35), distilled at San…

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A whisky-soaked punch in the mouth

Tasting Notes: Compass Box Peat Monster

Compass Box Whisky Company is a specialty Scotch whisky maker that, since forming in 2000, has made a big splash in the boutique whisky market. American John Glaser is the man behind the label, and his experimentation with unconventional malt combinations and oak maturation have resulted in some very interesting drams. From its core range,…

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Double aged for twice the taste

Tasting Notes: Brugal 1888 Rum

Brugal 1888 ($45-50) is what happens when five generations of Maestros Roneros, or Rum Masters, have been hand-crafting Brugal rums since the company was founded in 1888. This latest product blends that experience with a double distillation and double aging process for a unique, flavorful rum that’s perfect for sipping on a cool fall day….

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Bottled History

Tasting Notes: Pierre Ferrand 1840 Original Formula Cognac

Don’t be confused by the name. This Cognac isn’t 171 years old; rather, it’s fashioned in the style of “three-star” Cognacs that were consumed around 1840. Those Cognacs were very mixable and often bottled at a higher proof (Pierre Ferrand 1840 rings in at 90 proof) than today’s Cognacs, which are primarily meant for sipping….

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Small Batches and Pretty Bottles

Tasting Notes: Milagro Select Barrel Reserve Reposado Tequila

Milagro makes a full range of quality tequilas – silver, reposado and anejo – each distilled in small batches from 100% blue agave grown in the Jalisco highlands. In addition to the base lineup, Milagro offers its line of Select Barrel Reserve tequilas, which are produced from hand-selected agave meeting specific quality requirements. Milagro Select…

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Allsorts Liquor Scented Soap Bars

Allsorts liquor soap ($5+) is probably the first good thing born from a bar and bathroom. Each of the four available scents pays homage to classic cocktails like the Gin & Tonic, Whisky Sour, Spiced Rum, and Screwdriver — and serve as the perfect solution for stretching that weekend attitude straight through the work week….

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On July 27th, Celebrate Accordingly

Tasting Notes: National Scotch Day and The Dalmore Cigar Malt Reserve

It’s not that we ever need a reason to drink, but when one presents itself – especially one of such distinction as National Scotch Day – we’re obliged to raise our glass. The origin of this boozy holiday, like most, is shrouded in mystery and probably found life on the cocktail napkin of some marketing…

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Like Father, Like Son

Wild Turkey 81

Wild Turkey’s powerful, flagship 101 proof blend has attracted both bourbon fans and “dirty bird” escapists thanks to its bold, peppery flavoring and leg-rubberizing alcohol content. For years, the company has also offered an 80 proof blend for those looking to enjoy bourbon and still stay conscious after a few rounds. While master distiller Jimmy…

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Before Gin, there was Genever

Tasting Notes: Bols Genever

Originally produced as medicine in the late 1500s by a Dutch chemist, genever was a spirit distilled from malt wine. It was strong and not particularly tasty, but juniper berries and herbs were added to improve the flavor. Soon genever was a favorite drink among the people of Holland. It eventually made its way to…

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A Throwback to the Rums of Old

Tasting Notes: Smith & Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum

Smith and Cross Traditional Jamaican Rum ($29) is what happened when importer Haus Alpenz teamed up with some industry luminaries to create a new rum – one that pays homage to the rums of the late 19th and early 20th centuries. While many of today’s rums feature light and sweet flavor profiles, earlier era Jamaican…

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Drink like a navy man

Tasting Notes: Black Tot Last Consignment Rum

July 31, 1970 was a tough day for British sailors as the 300 year tradition of daily rum rations ended. With the market for British Royal Naval Rum drying up, remaining stocks were stored away in warehouses laying mostly undisturbed, only brought out for state functions and royal weddings. Luckily for us, in the true…

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Shaking Up the Vodka Pack

Eristoff Premium Vodka

Eristoff’s roots are in Georgia; that’s the former Soviet Union satellite, not the birthplace of MLK Jr. and Cee Lo Green. It was created by Georgian royalty back in 1806 when times were tough, and since the country is known for its wolf population, the spirit inherited the mascot. We bring up this little Discovery…

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Sweet Restitution

Junior’s Midnight Moon Aged Fruit Moonshine

Vodka brands have been adding fruit flavoring to their spirits for years in hopes of coaxing mixologists to shell out for another fifth, or at least get the squeamish drinking something. So it makes perfect sense the same trend would trickle down to white lightening. The sweetness from Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon Aged Fruit Moonshine($30)…

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Caribbean in a Bottle

Tasting Notes: Appleton Estate Reserve Rum

It’s a commonly known fact that the months between New Years and Spring are dreary and depressing, especially for those of us on the East Coast. Being strong believers in self medication taking action, Gear Patrol set out to find a stiff drink to bust our winter blues, and came back with the Appleton Estate…

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A Comeback 300 Years in the Making

Nolet Silver Gin

Nolet Silver Gin ($50) is a new brand of gin from a family that’s been making the spirit since 1691. Ironically, the Nolet distillery is more widely known today for its contribution to the world of vodka. That’s because 10th generation Carolus J.J. Nolet got the idea to break with tradition and make the Russian…

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Making the Best From a Bad Situation

Glennfiddich Snow Phoenix Single Malt Scotch Whisky

Attaching something like “Snow Phoenix” to the name of an otherwise perfectly good bottle of single malt might lead many to think the master distillers have been reading a bit too much Harry Potter after work. The truth is, this special run is actually the result of disaster caused by record snowfall back in January…

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Double Or Nothing

Johnnie Walker Double Black Label

Double secret probation and double rainbows may be old news, but Johnnie Walker Double Black is different. Created around a similar premise to Belvedere’s Intense Vodka, this blended scotch whiskey is designed to provide a bolder, smokier flavor compared to its ubiquitous predecessor. The added flavor comes from taking the original spirit and aging it…

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Time flies when you’re having Rum

The Kraken Rum

“A rum to put a beast in your belly”, The Kraken has washed onto the market and is bringing out the inner pirate in us all. An alternative from name brand rums, the Kraken ($20) provides a flavor that’s richer and stronger than the captain, and weighs in at a hefty 94 proof. Caramel sugars…

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The Wormwood Tradition

Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte

The Leopold Brothers believe in a strong sense of tradition and it is understood that tradition is what makes their spirits so good. The Leopold Brothers Absinthe Verte ($67) is crafted from a 100-year-old recipe of anise, grande wormwood, and sweet fennel along with a number of “proprietary botanicals.” The spirit is distilled in a…

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What's the Shiny Exterior Hiding?

Fenom Modern Absinthe

Absinthe has a reputation for many things. Some of them are accurate and justified, others are bogus. Fenom certainly hopes to capitalize one way or the other on the allure of this infamous mind altering substance with their so-called “Modern Absinthe”. Brought to our attention by Liqurious, it’s described by the company as the first…

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An Iconic Bottle Meets an Iconic Director

Absolut Brooklyn Limited Edition Vodka

As a tribute to one of the city’s most renowned boroughs and film makers, ABSOLUT has put out a limited edition flavor known as ABSOLUT Brooklyn. Developed in conjunction with Spike Lee, the bottle’s unique cover pays homage to the stoop where the director grew up, as well as the borough’s pace of life where…

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Appealing to Geek Drinkers Everywhere

Medea Vodka

Companies like Procter & Gamble have known for years that distinct packaging can make or break a product’s success on the shelf. Alcohol makers certainly aren’t newbies in this game either, but the creators of Medea Vodka appear to be hell bent on upping the industry’s game. That’s because each bottle includes an integrated LED…

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Meet the Brand Giving Gin a Delicate Makeover

Oxley Classic English Dry Gin

Those who drink gin and those who don’t stand on opposite sides of the proverbial line in the sand. If you happen to fall on the side of some of our editors and like this juniper berry infused spirit, then we recommend trying out Oxley Classic English Dry Gin, a brand launched in 2009 by…